I have to admit, I’ve been stumped for what I was going to write as my first piece for 2014. I know I went pretty quiet for a while; 2013 had some sharper turns and deeper, darker valleys than expected. But as long as you keeping walking on life’s path you always find that it goes back up in to the light, and so here I am wanting to shine a little bit of my own light back on the world.
I was talking about this with my two older boys late last night. I was reminded that it was time to write another blog and I said I was stumped for a topic. Then I was reminded that I had been banging on about how they should try yoga because it was good for your body, mind and soul; so why not write about that? I’m not sure if that was help, or a shutdown. But I’m up for the challenge; so here we go…
Actually, talking about body and mind is easy these days. The body obsession just seems to grow bigger every year. I’m not too sure how many personal trainers, tattoo artists, and protein shakes the world needs, but I think it’s safe to say that as a society we are happy to pay attention to bodies. And of course these days there’s an app for everything body related, and we are increasingly connecting our bodies to our devices.
It would seem to me that obsession about the mind is also starting to grow. You can sign up for brain training websites and try and grow brain cells in the morning so that you can go out a drink them away in the evening. Old people are trying to stave off brain degeneration, and tertiary education is now a pre-requisite for almost everything, including personal training, tattoo artists, and protein shake makers. We celebrate smart minds like we celebrate sports people and their bodies. And yes, there are apps for our brains too that allow us to maybe grow and perhaps augment our minds. Yep, we are happy to pay attention to our minds.
But talking about the soul is not so easy; the soul is the realm of religion, or hippie speak, or bad cable TV shows. You can talk endlessly about bodies at the pub, you can talk about minds at the pub (but only for so long before us guys get distracted by beer and go back to bodies), but you can’t really talk about souls at the pub. And besides; what is a soul? It’s hard enough to work out what it is let alone pay attention to it and look after it.
But here’s the light I’d like to shine for 2014. Maybe we need to question the way we think about bodies and minds, and we need to bring our souls/spirits/conscious self in to the mix and balance things up. Paying attention to something is not necessarily nurturing something. Taking strange compounds, competing endlessly, obsessing over apps to measure and monitor everything, and generally creating pressure on ourselves to maximize body and mind performance to the extreme is not my idea of nurturing. Increasingly it’s looking like obsessing to me. And we need to stop forgetting about our souls.
To me, body, mind and soul have become very apparent. I am not a religious person and so to me the soul is our conscious self; our higher consciousness if you like. If you want to observe this with your body and mind then try and do a really difficult yoga pose. Every yoga pose is difficult for me – I have the flexibility and grace of a log. But I try. And when I tried I learnt pretty quick that there are three things all going on at the same time. Your body is screaming at you saying “FAAAAARK, why are you doing this to me”, your mind is screaming at you “FAAAAARK, why are you here when you could be at the pub you FAAAAARKING idiot”, and your conscious self is there going “I seem to swear a lot. Why don’t you all calm down, and keep quiet and be”. It’s as clear as day to me – there are 3 things going on and the more I do it the more I learn to listen to the calm voice. But we don’t naturally listen to the calm voice, and we don’t talk about it, and we don’t have an app for it. But I like to think of my higher conscious, calm self as my soul. And I think it needs nurturing.
So I want to work on my balance in 2014 and I would encourage you all to think about doing the same. Body, Mind, and Soul. If nothing else, thinking about balance can’t be a bad thing.
Happy New Year!